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Posts Tagged ‘summer’

It’s hard to believe that it has been more than a year since my last post.

It’s been a busy year, full of trans-pacific moves, goodbyes, hellos, and a lot of yet to be documented eating adventures!

Why not start off with a shave ice review?

shaveeice
I love all forms of ice dessert and syrup, including kakigori (and here), halo halo, ais cacang, and pat bingsu.

But the ice dessert that rules them all? Hawaiian style shave ice! The texture of the ice, made by “shaving” it off of a large rotating block, is lighter and much smaller than crushed ice. This creates more areas for the syrup to flow into, and not just collect at the bottom of your cup or bowl. The ice is then lightly shaped into a large softball sized ball. Then freshly made syrups and a quick swirl of condensed milk are added on top, and a scoop of ice cream at the bottom if you are so inclined.

My favorite is a combination of lemon-line, blue raspberry, and cherry, which usually means I end up with a well earned purple tongue afterwards.

RockinIce Truck @ Los Angeles, California

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Just looking at this picture makes me want another kakigori!

I took another trip to Nagoya a couple months ago, and went to this tiny shop in the market district for quite possibly the best shaved ice of my life. The green tea syrup was not too sweet and not too bitter, and there is plenty of condensed milk. What sets it apart from other kakigori that I’ve had is the texture of the ice. Many places use crushed ice, similar to a snow cone, but this shop uses very finely shaved ice. It melts in your mouth really smoothly, and holds the syrup well, instead of letting it all sink to the bottom of the bowl.This shaved ice was really big, but I somehow managed to eat the entire thing ^_^

@Nagoya, Japan

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baked donuts 1
Now that the summer heat has started to hit Japan in earnest, I’m starting to miss the chilly weather that hung on until just a couple weeks ago. I stayed at a friend’s place last weekend, and made these cute baked mini donuts. The mini part was a happy compromise, as we wanted to buy a full sized silicon donut mold, and could only find the mini version at Tokyu Hands.

Speaking of silicon cook and bakeware, they are suddenly very popular in Japan. There have been a ton of mooks (magazine books) coming out with recipes and free cookware, including everything from vegetable steamers to cake molds. Baking with silicon molds is being promoted as being the “healthy” option for making donuts, cakes and even churros. I don’t know if it is actually healthier, but it does make me want to fill my kitchen with rainbow colored bakeware! Baked donuts are leading the boom, popping up everywhere from Mister Donut to my local supermarket bakery. I can only assume that is why it was impossible to find a full sized silicon mold for donuts!

Using the mold is simple, we just made a batter using a store bought pancake mix, eggs, milk and butter. Then we added cocoa powder, green tea powder and kinako (roasted soybean) powder to make different flavored donuts. After spooning the batter into our mold, we baked the donuts for 1o minutes, let them cool, and started decorating.

It was an awesome way to spend a rainy Sunday morning. The only downside? Now all I can think about is other flavors of donuts and icing that still need to be tested!

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ujimilkkakigori
Who knew a dessert with just three things could be so amazing? Shaved ice, uji syrup and condensed milk. Yes, folks, it is officially hot enough for kakigori かき氷! I was lucky enough to go to Taketomi Island, a teeny island that is a part of the Yaeyama group in Okinawa. Since the weather there is summery and beautiful, I couldn’t help but get my first shaved ice of 2009 ^_^.

“Uji” syrup is a simple syrup flavored with powdered matcha green tea. A small mountain of freshly shaved ice is topped with the syrup and a generous drizzle of condensed milk. The slightly bitter sweet syrup, creamy condensed milk, and chilly shaved ice was perfect! Refreshing, and I’m already looking forward to my next kakigori (or pat bing su, ais kacang, raspado, cendol etc…. )

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Three yummy summer kakigori かき氷 shaved ice specials at Kihachi Ice Cream. In addition to the required shaved ice, these chilly desserts also come with a serving of Kihachi’s famous vanilla bean soft serve.

Yellow:Mango pieces, a citrus syrup, tipped with a grapefruit gelee.
This was my favorite of the 3, the sweet fresh mango goes really well with the tart grapefruit.

Green: The traditonal ujikinntoki 宇治金時 or sweetened red beans with a matcha syrup, topped with kanten 寒天 jelly pieces.

Red: Red raspberries with a scoop of annin purin アンニン プリン almond pudding, topped with a sweet raspberry syrup and condensed milk.

Kihachi Soft Cream@ Lumine building, Shinjuku station, Tokyo, Japan

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I’m chasing the last weeks of summer, and went to my neighborhood soft serve shack for something to beat the heat.  I’ll admit it, I am a lover of the strange and fascinating flavors of Japanese soft cream (soft serve ice cream) in all it’s various forms. I’ve had a rainbow of flavors from the conventional matcha and strawberry to the not so common black sesame and miso, but the picture of this light green ice cream confused me. Who in the world would make soft serve flavored like edamame (soy beans), or more specifically, zunda づんだ, the paste made from mashed edamame?  Obviously there is an audience for this particular flavor group, along with the squid ink, wasabi, and soy sauce ice cream lovers out there.

The verdict? Zunda soft serve is good. Amazingly good. This is what all good soy beans dream of becoming when they grow up. The flavor is like the sweetest sugar snap peas you’ve ever had with a light creamy texture. Really refreshing and interesting to eat.

Soft Cream Shack@ Manriki Park, Yamanashi, Japan

How has your summer ice cream been?

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